Melissa Maginnis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Microbiology

Maginnis Lab
Hitchner Hall
Laboratory: Room 320
Laboratory Phone: (207) 581-2800
Office: Room 326 (interior to lab)
Office Phone: 207.581.2806
Lab website:

B.S. (2001) Neumann College
Ph.D. (2007) Vanderbilt University
Postdoctoral Training: Brown University


The excitement and enthusiasm of my students motivates me to be a thoughtful and creative instructor. My teaching is focused on big picture concepts and development of skills that will prepare students for the next steps in their professional journey. I actively engage students in course work that is fun and rewarding by incorporating a variety of active-learning strategies so that students at different levels of learning and with different learning styles are actively engaged in class. I aim to keep my courses fresh and exciting by complementing my lectures with small group projects, student-led presentations, discussions of primary literature, book discussions, video discussions with experts in the fields, and the incorporation of podcast discussions. With varied types of assignments, my goal is to foster a love for learning and allow all student the opportunity to shine!

Courses taught:  Phage Genome Discovery I (part of the HHMI, SEAPHAGES program), a research-intensive laboratory for first-year students; an undergraduate Virology course (BMB455); an undergraduate Virus-Cell Interactions Laboratory (BMB475); a graduate Virology course (BMB598); and undergraduate and graduate Seminar in Molecular and Biomedical Sciences (BMB480 and 590). I also mentor students in independent research in my laboratory through Independent Study (BMB497), Capstone Research (BMB491), Honors Thesis Research (HON498/499), and Graduate Thesis Research (BMB699).

Research Interests:

Research in the Maginnis laboratory is focused on understanding the cellular and molecular basis of viral disease. Specifically, our work seeks to define the viral and host cell factors that regulate infection and viral pathogenesis of the human JC polyomavirus (JCPyV). The majority of the population is infected with JCPyV, which establishes a lifelong, persistent infection in the kidney without symptoms. In immunocompromised hosts, such as individuals receiving immunomodulatory therapies for autoimmune diseases or those with HIV, the virus can spread from the kidney to the central nervous system and cause a lytic infection in the brain. Viral destruction of the glial cells astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, which are critical for myelin production, results in the fatal, demyelinating disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML). There is currently no effective treatment for PML.

Viruses are complex, yet extremely efficient machines that hijack the host cell machinery to complete an infectious cycle and produce progeny virus. The interplay between JCPyV and host cell factors is critical to understanding disease outcomes and PML pathogenesis. Research in my laboratory is focused on understanding the detailed molecular interactions between the virus and host cell factors that drive the early steps in the infectious cycle including entry, trafficking, and viral transcription. In particular, we are focused on defining how JCPyV uses the serotonin receptor to transverse the plasma membrane, identifying signaling cascades that drive viral transcription, and elucidating how the virus causes persistent and lytic infections in specific cell types. This research will allow us to define key unanswered questions in JCPyV biology, provide crucial insights into JCPyV pathogenesis, and identify novel targets for rational drug design for prevention and treatment of PML.


  • Maginnis, M.S. + (2023). Beta-arrestin and G protein-coupled receptor kinases in viral entry: A graphical review. Cellular Signaling, 102: 110558. +, Corresponding author.
  •  Mehmood, K., Wilczek, M.P., DuShane, J.K., Parent, M.T., Mayberry, C.L., Wallace, J.N., Levasseur, F.L., Fong, T.M., Hess, S.T.+, and Maginnis, M.S. + (2022). Dynamics and Patterning of 5-Hydroxytryptamine 2 Subtype Receptors in Response to Ligand JC Polyomavirus. Viruses, 14(12), 2597. +, Corresponding author. [Selected as Highlight Paper].
  • Regan, D., Fong, C., Bond, A.C.S., Desjardins, C., Hardcastle, J., Hung, S.H., Holmes, A.P., Schiffman, J.D., Maginnis, M.S., and Howell, C. (2022). Improved Recovery of Captured Airborne Bacteria and Viruses with Liquid-coated Air Filters. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 14(45):50543-50556.
  • Wilczek, M.P., Pike, A.C., Craig, S., Maginnis, M.S.+, and King, B.L. + (2022) Rearrangement in the Hypervariable Region of JC Polyomavirus Genomes Isolated from Patient Samples and Impact on Transcription Factor-Binding Sites and Disease Outcomes. IMJS, 23(10), 5699. +, Corresponding authors.
  • Wilczek, M.P., Armstrong, F.A., Mayberry, C.L., King, B.L. and Maginnis, M.S.+ (2021). PI3K/AKT/mTOR Signaling Pathway is Required for JCPyV Infection in Primary Astrocytes. Cells, 10(11), 3218. +, Corresponding author.
  • Wilczek, M.P., Armstrong, F.J., Geohegan, R.P., Mayberry, C.L., DuShane, J.K., King, B.L., and Maginnis, M.S.+ (2021). The MAPK/ERK Pathway and the Role of DUSP1 in JCPyV Infection of Primary Astrocytes. Viruses, 13:1834. +, Corresponding author.
  • Mayberry, C.L., Bond, C.S., Wilczek, M.P., Mehmood, K., and Maginnis, M.S.+ (2021). Sending Mixed Signals: Polyomavirus Entry and Trafficking. Current Opinion in Virology, 47:95-105. [Invited review]. +, Corresponding author.
  • Mayberry, C.L., Wilczek, M.P., Fong, T.M., Nichols, S.L., and Maginnis, M.S.+ (2021). GRK2 Mediates b-arrestin Interactions with 5-HT2 Receptors for JC Polyomavirus Endocytosis. Journal of Virology; 95(7):e02139-20. [Spotlight Article]. +, Corresponding author.
  • Mayberry, C.L. and Maginnis, M.S.+(2020). Taking the scenic route: polyomaviruses utilize multiple pathways to reach the same destination. Viruses, 12(10):1168. [Invited Review]. +, Corresponding author.
  • Wilczek, M.P., DuShane, J.K., Armstrong, F.A., and Maginnis, M.S.+ (2020). JC Polyomavirus Infection Reveals Delayed Progression of the Infectious Cycle in Normal Human Astrocytes. Journal of Virology, 94(5): e01331-19. [Cover Illustration]. +, Corresponding author.
  • DuShane, J.K., Mayberry, C.L., Wilczek, M.P., Nichols, S.L., and Maginnis, M.S.+ (2019). JCPyV-Induced MAPK Signaling Activates Transcription Factors during Infection. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(19):4779. +, Corresponding author.
  • DuShane, J.K. and Maginnis, M.S.+ (2019). DNA Virus Exploitation of the MAPK-ERK Cascade. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 20(14):3427. [Invited Review]. +, Corresponding author.
  • Assetta, B., Morris-Love, J., Gee, G.V., Atkinson, A., O’Hara, B.A., Maginnis, M.S., Haley, S.A., and Atwood, W.J. (2019). Genetic and Functional Dissection of the Role of Individual 5-HT2 Receptors as Entry Receptors for JC Polyomavirus. Cell Reports, 27(7):1960-1966.e6.
  • DuShane, J.K., Wilczek, M.P., Crocker, M.A., Maginnis, M.S.+ (2019). High-Throughput Characterization of Viral and Cellular Protein Expression Patterns during JC Polyomavirus Infection. Frontiers in Microbiology, 10:783. +, Corresponding author.
  • Curthoys, N.M., Mlodzianoski, M.J., Parent, M., Butler, M.B., Raut, P., Wallace, J., Lilieholm, J., Mehmood, K., Maginnis, M.S., Waters, H., Busse, B., Zimmerberg, J., and Hess ST. (2019). Influenza Hemagglutinin Modulates Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-Bisphosphate Membrane Clustering. Biophysical Journal, 116(5):893-909.
  • Mayberry, C.L., Soucy, A.N., Lajoie, C.R., DuShane, J.K., and Maginnis, M.S.+ (2019). JC Polyomavirus Entry by Clathrin-Mediated Endocytosis is Driven by β-arrestin. Journal of Virology, 93(8):e01948-18. [Spotlight Article]. +, Corresponding author.
  • Maginnis, M.S.+ (2018). Virus-Receptor Interactions: The Key to Cellular Invasion. Journal of Molecular Biology, 430(17):2590-2611. [Invited Review]. +,Corresponding author.
  • DuShane, J.K., Wilczek, M.P., Mayberry, C.L., and Maginnis, M.S.+ (2018). ERK is a Critical Regulator of JCPyV Infection. Journal of Virology, 92(7):e01529-17. +, Corresponding author.
  • Mayberry, C.L., Nelson, C.D.S., and Maginnis, M.S.+ (2017). JC Polyomavirus Attachment and Entry: Potential Sites for PML Therapeutics. Current Clinical Microbiology Reports, 4(3):132-141. [Invited Review]. +, Corresponding author.
  • Dimitriadi, M., Derdowski, A., Kalloo, G., Maginnis, M.S., Bliska, B., O’ Hern, P., Nguyen, K.C.Q., Cook, S.J., Poulogiannis, G., Atwood, W.J., Hall, D.H., and Hart, A.C. (2016). Decreased Function of Survival Motor Neuron Protein Impairs Endocytic Pathways. PNAS, 113(30):E4377-86.
  • Ströh, L.J.*, Maginnis, M.S.*, Blaum, B.S., Nelson, C.D., Neu, U., Gee, G.V., O’Hara, B.A., Motamedi, N., DiMaio, D., Atwood, W.J., and Stehle, T. (2015). The Greater Affinity of JC Polyomavirus Capsid for α2,6-Linked Lactoseries Tetrasaccharide c than for Other Sialylated Glycans Is a Major Determinant of Infectivity. Journal of Virology, 89(12):6364-75.*, Denotes equal contribution.